Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Before He Wakes: A True Story of Money, Marriage, Sex and Murder Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 1996
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Veteran true-crime readers are familiar with the cold murder committed by a sociopath, versus the hot murder committed in a moment of rage or jealousy. But what to make of someone who murders her spouse simply to keep him from finding out that she borrowed a few thousand from the bank? This story of a Durham, North Carolina, woman who appeared to be a devoted mother, meticulous housekeeper, loving wife, and church leader, is even more puzzling when we learn that what's beneath is not all that shocking: she lies, she's promiscuous, she's a perfectionist, and she spends too much money. The mystery is the motive in this tale of a murderer, both of whose husbands died, in bed, of "accidents with guns." Jerry Bledsoe has a crisp, unemotional prose style. His expertly paced courtroom cliffhangers kept this reviewer up reading long past midnight. Before He Wakes was a finalist for the 1995 Edgar Award in Fact Crime.
From Publishers Weekly
In 1988, high school coach Russ Stager of Durham, N.C., was "accidentally" killed by his wife, Barbara, shot with a loaded gun he allegedly kept under his pillow. A seemingly happy and popular couple, both active in their church, the two were compulsive overspenders--and she was a sexual overachiever with a string of extramarital affairs. As the case developed, it became clear she was a liar and a thief as well. Then detectives discovered that exactly 10 years earlier Barbara's first husband, Larry Ford, had died in an identical fashion but police had done nothing about their reservations concerning that "accident." Barbara was convicted of murder and eventually sentenced to life. The greatest strength of Bledsoe's ( Blood Games ) fine study is less his account of the murder case than his picture of the Baptist culture of the Bible Belt, where the baptized Barbara was assumed to be a "good Christian woman" because her church work meant she could do no evil. Photographs not seen by PW. Television rights to CBS.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Top customer reviews
Anything/anyone that seems 'too good to be true'............probably *is*!
This book was well-written, descriptive, and in depth. Barbara was apparently an amazing employee and spotless housekeeper, she just couldn't stop competing with the Joneses or stop cheating on her husbands. There was something going on with the relationship with her mother that just wasn't quite right - of course her mother always stuck up for her just like Pat's mother in "Everything She Wanted", by Ann Rule. It's amazing how similar these psychopaths are when you've read as many of these books as I have.
I keep remembering how one of her former friends saw her driving around in her convertible, a big grin on her face, just out enjoying herself, right after her second husband's death (before she was arrested). I wonder if her two boys ever realized that she deliberately lied about and kept them from seeing their paternal grandparents. In my opinion, the death penalty should have been carried out on Barbara. She is breathing up other people's air.
Barbara Stager was a middle-aged woman with expensive tastes. Unfortunately, she and her husband Russ, a high school coach, did not earn the kind of money that could pay for the finer things in life. She needed money. He was insured. So, this church going, ostensibly devoted wife and mother, shot her husband while he slept, claiming that it was an accident. Funny thing, almost the same thing had happened to her first husband, who had died in bed of a gunshot wound, when a gun she claimed he was handling went off accidentally.
The investigation following the death of her second husband revealed a web of lies and a private woman far different from her public image. Barbara Stagers was a woman given to sexual licentiousness, excess spending, thievery, and compulsive lying. The investigation of the murder of Russ Stager led the police to believe that the death of her first husband, Larry Ford, a death that had originally been classified as accidental, was also almost certainly murder. The scary thing is that she almost got away with it a second time. This book is a fascinating look at a real life, black widow.